We recently returned from a week at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana. It was wonderful. I did not see any evidence for most of the criticisms I have read here on trip advisor.
We were greeted upon arrival and check in was very smooth. They did make a pitch I think for being a member, etc but when we declined they were quite courteous. I will say it would make more sense to make this pitch during or at the end of the vacation when you have a sense of what the facility offers.
Our room was spacious and had beautiful views. My understanding is that there are no rooms directly on the beach with unobstructed views but we had a wonderful view of a pool and some of the beach. The room was very clean. Many times I read reviews about how the resort was falling apart but I did not see it. Not everything will be pristine all the time, there are 1700 rooms. So ignore a scratch here or there. Housekeeping was great. They cleaned the rooms twice a day. They were very responsive to requests for towels etc.
The staff was wonderful and friendly. I don't think I met a staff member who did not smile and say hello. Yes there is a language barrier but remember we are a guest in this country. Our butler was amazing. Javier made the trip absolutely special. He was available and responsive and so kind. He made all our dinner reservations, excursions and spa treatments. If all the staff were as good as he there would be no complaints. The head butler, Michael, also was excellent. He helped to coordiante all our requests before we arrived.
The pools and beaches were incredible. Clean pools with plenty of chairs and towels. The beach was amazing. Yes the waves are a little intimidating but also quite fun. The break wall they are constructing already makes a difference at one end so if you have kids they can be safe down that end.
The resort is large but we like to walk so it was not an issue. Trams run quite frequently and I think we only waited a couple of times more than 3-4 minutes.
Now to be honest there is one area that is not that good and that is the food. If you are a foodie than this may not be the place for you. I will say if you are a foodie most all inclusives would not be for you. The restaurants we thought were good were Zen, the Brazilian steak house and the pizza parlor. The mexican restaruant was really terrible. The others were average. Two of our party had stomach issues during the trip. I am not sure what can be done about that. I noticed the food staff were very clean and washed their hands alot but we still had issues. The food is bland and industrial.
Overall I would say it is a very good resort but again if food means a lot then bypass all inclusives.